Europe’s cycle paths are an appealing way to navigate the continent—whizzing past fields of daffodils, ancient castles and Mediterranean beaches. But there is one hitch: What if you love cycling, but hate hills? No need to worry. And if you thought all we’d suggest is Holland—think again…
The French Alps may seem like tough terrain on your bike, but you’d be surprised. Along Lake Annecy, you can cycle more than 25 miles along the well-maintained lake-side cycle path and enjoy the Alps without having to climb them. The sparkling turquoise lake waters reflect the crisp, ice-capped mountains and there is a picture-perfect town full of delectable restaurants nearby for a well-earned feast.
There is also hundreds of miles of sign-posted cycle paths along the Danube River, where the landscape and wildlife is spectacular and the food is great. The head-high corn fields, white-washed red-roofed villages, and imposing castles and beer gardens are so tantalizing that they may seriously limit the number of miles cycled each day. An eight-day, self-guided cycle tour along the Danube Bike Trail through Germany and Austria with Exodus is $760.
If that seems pricey, then try visiting the award-winning website www.greentraveller.co.uk for good budget suggestions. If price is no object, then book a week with Love Velo for a deluxe cycle tour from $1,800. In groups of 14, you can ride through Tuscany, Provence or Mallorca and stay in five-star villas with your own chef and mechanic—useful if your knowledge of bike maintenance is as bad as mine. For other guided and self-guided tours throughout France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland, see: www.cyclomundo.com.
If you don’t mind being faced with an incline, then follow a cycle route in County Clare, Ireland. In the Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Cycle Routes in the World, this trail between the villages of Miltown Malbay and Doolin in West Clare begins in gentle, undulating pastures and rolls past golden-sand beaches to the dramatic Cliffs of Moher facing the Atlantic. For more information, go to: www.irishcycletours.com.